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4.8 9
by Chris Womersley

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1919 Australia, Womersley’s moving second mystery chronicles the return of Sgt. Quinn Walker, fresh from the killings fields of France, to his hometown of Flint, New South Wales, whence he fled 10 years earlier under horrific circumstances. Back then, Quinn’s father found 16-year-old Quinn in an abandoned shed next to his raped and murdered 12-year-old sister, Sarah, clutching the bloody knife used to kill her. The older Walker drew the obvious conclusion, but Quinn was able to slip away without getting arrested. Quinn now hopes, even after so much time has passed, to identify the real culprit, but first he must persuade his mother of his innocence. Womersley, who won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Fiction for The Low Road (2007), uses lyrical language to enhance a familiar story (e.g., “he dug a hand into his tunic to touch his revolver as if it were a crucifix that, through his caresses, might alert God to his anxieties”). (July)
Library Journal
Battered and disfigured from fighting at Gallipoli, Quinn Walker heads back to his drought-stricken hometown in New South Wales once World War I is over. No jubilant homecoming awaits him, however, for ten years earlier at age 16 he fled after being accused of his sister's murder. Now his mother lies dying of the Spanish influenza that is rampaging across the world, and he must visit her secretly to avoid being chased down and hung. Australian Womersley (The Low Road) tells an unremittingly bleak story steeped in gothic traditions. Narrator Dan Wyllie's Australian accent anchors the somewhat ghostly events in reality. Though at times difficult to listen to, this audiobook will appeal to readers interested in rural Australian life following World War I.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

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Bereft 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
whiteginger More than 1 year ago
I loved every minute of this beautiful paradox. The paradox: Chris Womersley’s Bereft confronts the reader with the ugliness of life—the physical and mental scars of war and disease, the injustice of the wicked going unpunished, the terrible pain and sadness of loss and desperation-- yet, incredibly, Bereft is a tale of touching beauty which is an absolute joy to read. Like a classic tragic hero, Bereft’s Quinn Walker seems impelled toward some final confrontation with a larger moral context. He is fated to expose the truth of what happened on that awful day ten years ago when he ran away, the day when he was discovered, bloody knife in hand, standing over the body of his young sister who had been raped and murdered. There is a haunting, surreal quality to much of the story as Quinn suffers flashbacks of the war, relives memories of his sister, and strives to understand the mystical orphan girl who befriends him. This is one of those rare books that, even in our digital age, I would want in hard copy on my shelf. Bereft is a book to be reread, reloved.
Fozzie More than 1 year ago
Melancholy, hopeful, dramatic, historical, spiritual, and beautifully written all describe this book. It is a short book, one that tempts you to read it very fast, but savor it over a few sittings instead. It is no wonder it has won so many awards in Australia.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
This was a breath-taking historical novel that takes place in the small town of Flint, Australia in the year 1909. Twelve year old Sarah Walker is raped and murdered. Her brother sixteen year old Quinn is discovered over the body with a knife. He runs away and is never seen again. Later, his parents receive a telegram that he died in action during the war. Quinn, now physically scared returns to Flint to seek answers and clear his name. Womersley spun a wonderful tale, with complex characters that kept me captivated from page one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Page turner from start to finish. original story. excellent read! i will definitely read his other novel.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
In 1909 in Flint a small town in New South Wales Australia twelve year old Sarah Walker was brutally raped and murdered, she was discovered in a shed at Wilson’s Point by her father Nathaniel and her uncle Robert. Bloodied and holding the knife that killed her was her sixteen year old brother Quinn. Upon being found Quinn disappeared never to be seen again, of course the gossip mill was ripe and the rumors flying about how their relationship was a bit closer than should be. Ten years later battered by war, by guilt and by a need for retribution Quinn returns to Flint to prove his innocence and to make sure the guilty party pays for what they did to him, his sister Sarah and his family. He arrives to find his mother on death’s door by the epidemic that has taken thousands of lives so far and to find that the bounty on his innocent head is still there. Quinn discovers and befriends a strange young girl the same age as his Sarah was when she was taken from him. She is also being pursued by the same monster that took Sarah. Quinn doesn’t know why but he is determined to protect her at any and all costs as together they search for the way back from madness. Chris Womersley has given us a most important piece of historical literary fiction, with an economy of words he spins his tale of heartbreak, war, plague and healing. He uses a narrative that is beautiful in it’s descriptions of horrible events. And he gives this contemporary reader a realistic look at a time in history that rarely crossed my mind. His expertise as a writer comes across with his prose like dialogue and took me on a journey through the eyes of a man ravaged by his past and his part in battle by emphasizing the post traumatic stress syndrome that this WWI vet suffered while he battled the demons from a childhood event that never should have happened and at the same time showed me the world ravaged by a virus that we treat with a shot. His characters are all wonderfully depicted from Quinn and Sadie to Mary all the way down to our villain. It’s a novel that I would recommend to any lover of fiction, historical or otherwise, it’s a read that will find itself on your keep shelf to be revisited time and again and will find itself in wrapping paper for gift giving as well. Thank you Mr. Womersley for the best novel I’ve read in the genre for a long while.
BlairDT More than 1 year ago
This book is a dark and moody blend of historical fiction, crime and a touch of fantasy. Womersley takes two sad subjects, WWI and the murder of a child, and weaves an uplifting story of revenge, tenderness, and healing. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history or has siblings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pen21 More than 1 year ago
Don't miss this novel! Quinn is accused of killing his sister Sarah in 1909 in Australia. Quinn runs away and is sent overseas during the Great War. When the war is over he returns to his hometown. This sets the scene for a beautifully written novel. The author takes the reader into Quinn's world of 1909 and 1919 when he returns to confront what happened 10 years earlier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nook please work